Realigning on workplace mental health

Last updated on September 28, 2023 
The COVID-19 pandemic is over, so why is workplace mental health still an issue?
A group of office workers working at their desks

In a perfect storm, residual post-pandemic and new cost-of-living pressures, coupled with ongoing problems like fatigue and burnout, are contributing to an increase in psychological injuries. Our new Allianz claims data revealed a 46% increase in mental health (psychological) claims since pre-pandemic times.1

To help ensure thriving and connected workplaces of the future, Allianz believes organisations need to embark on a Workplace Realignment. 

“With ongoing disruptions we've continued to see a disconnect between managers, employees and organisations on the most important workplace mental health issues. This disconnect continues to have a serious impact on workplace satisfaction and employee retention, and in turn, is continuing a worrying trend of increasing mental health claims in the workplace.” Allianz Australia Chief General Manager of Personal Injury, Julie Mitchell, said.

Julie Mitchell
Julie Mitchell
Chief General Manager of Personal Injury

More than a third (35%) of Australian employees surveyed in our latest research identified the cost of living as having the greatest negative impact on job satisfaction,2 with 33% stating that fatigue and burnout was impacting it too.3

Allianz claims data has shown a 39% increase in the days taken off work due to mental health in the last four years.4  “We’re seeing a worrying trend where workplace mental health claims are increasing, coupled with more time away from the workplace when an incident does occur,” said Julie.

 

The Workplace Realignment is about organisations addressing the evolving workplace mental health practices and ensuring there’s greater alignment between managers and employees on mental health needs within the modern workforce.

“Displaying empathy and establishing meaningful connections with employees is the first step to develop trust and to spark The Workplace Realignment,” Allianz consulting psychiatrist, Dr Mark Cross, said.

“Business leaders must take a nuanced approach to modernising workplace mental health support, tailoring policies to the evolving needs of employees across all generations.”

To achieve this, we’ve identified a range of practical tips for both employees and managers that align with and address the mental health challenges revealed in our latest research.

To improve workplace mental health, the top four areas surveyed employeesbelieve their organisations should commit to are:

  • Creating empathetic and emotionally intelligent environments that drive culture and better relationships (41%) e.g., mental health awareness training, private spaces to conduct discussions, and mentorship and guidance. 
  • Adequate remuneration in line with the market (39%). 
  • Clear processes and polices to communicate workplace concerns such as negative culture, bullying and harassment (36%).
  • Tailored flexible working policies (35%).

Julie stated, "As workplace mental health issues grow more intricate, organisations must transcend a 'one size fits all' approach and instead focus on aligning with employee expectations, resolving their concerns, and addressing emerging mental health risks."

To discover our tips for creating mentally healthy workplaces for all, visit The Workplace Realignment or the Allianz Workplace Mental Health Hub.

  1. Allianz Workers’ Compensation claims data comparing primary psychological active claims for FY19 compared to FY23, across all Allianz portfolios including; Allianz Australia's Underwritten Workers’ Compensation, NSW Managed Fund (for both private and public sector employees) and Victorian Managed Fund Portfolios.
  2. Over a third (35%) of surveyed employees stated cost of living pressures are negatively impacting their job satisfaction.

  3. 33% of surveyed employees stated fatigue and burnout are negatively impacting their job satisfaction.
  4.   Allianz Workers Compensation claims data comparing primary psychological active claims for FY19 compared to FY23, across all Allianz portfolios including; Allianz Australia's Underwritten Workers Compensation, NSW Managed Fund (for both private and public sector employees) and Victorian Managed Fund Portfolios.
  5.  The research was commissioned by Allianz and conducted by YouGov in accordance with the Australian Polling Council standard. The survey is a nationally representative sample comprised of 1500 employees (middle managers and below) and 521 managers (senior managers and above) in Australia aged 18 years and older. This study was conducted online between 23 May 2023 and 31 May 2023. Following the completion of interviewing, the data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.

This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL234708 ("Allianz"). In some cases, information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way.

Any opinions expressed constitute our views at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither Allianz, nor its employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy or accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in this article.

Allianz acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we live and work across Australia. We pay our respect to First Nations Elders past and present.



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